The Rev. John Venn came from a circle that included William Wilberforce and others of a passionate, evangelising Christian mind. He trained to became an Anglican priest and moved to Hereford in 1833.
Part of his parish included the area of St Owen’s, one of the poorest parts of the city. Imbued with the belief that all poverty could be dispelled by work, he made a proposal which saw the establishment of the Society for Aiding the Industrious. The Society soon created a hive of activity in Hereford. They built and ran a steam corn mill that milled corn at a cheaper rate than was charged elsewhere, and yet still made handsome profits which were ploughed back into other Society activities. There was a baths complex and subsequent swimming pool, allotments; a model farm and gardens; a coal store, a soup kitchen, and an office which also handled grants and loans. In effect, Venn created a whole mixed welfare system for the poor of Hereford.
Jean O’Donnell has lived in Herefordshire for almost 50 years, has been a member of the Woolhope Naturalists’ Field Club for 44 years and twice been its President, and has long had an interest in John Venn and his Society which led to the writing of this book.
Paperback | 144 pages | 234 x 156 mm | 2007
80 b&w illustrations